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Maundy Thursday, March 28, 2024

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Maundy Thursday, March 28, 2024

The hymn’s lyrics include the line, “God the Father is his source, Back to God he runs his course.”  The “course” run by this Savior is (as the hymn tells us) a descent to death and hell; he goes “trav’ling where dull hellfires burn…”  This is the Savior who has come.  Why has he come?  The hymn tells us that as well: “For the trophies of our souls.”

Jesus claims the trophy of your soul for himself by washing you.  Here, in this passage, he washes feet.  The custom, as you know, is to wash by baptism, either immersion of the body or the wetting of the head.  In all these circumstances, Jesus claims you by washing you—body, head, or feet.  In this world, broken and stained by sin, washing is a transitory endeavor:  the water dries without leaving evidence of its presence… the cleanliness becomes dirty again… Even in our baptismal ritual when we make the sign of the cross upon the newly baptized brow and announce: “Child of God, you have been marked by the cross of Christ and sealed by the Holy Spirit forever” … Even then, the sign of cross and the seal of the Holy Spirit leave no evidence behind.  It’s as if they, like the water poured on the head, have dried, evaporated, away.

Though no evidence remains, two things still endure:  Jesus’ claim and the baptismal promise.  They endure for they do not originate in this old world broken and marred by sin.  They endure because they are of the Word of God which endures forever.  Only faith knows the claim and hears the promise.  Your senses and your reason always look for evidence and there is none.  Whereas faith simply says, “Let me hear them again that I may believe!”  And the Word makes both claim and promise real.

Table Talk:  Discuss the various ways you have sought evidence of Jesus’ claim and of the baptismal promise.
Pray:  Heavenly Father, grant me to live by faith alone despite the lack of evidence.  Amen

John 13:1-15

Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. 2 During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him, 3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, 4 rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. 5 Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. 6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, Lord, do you wash my feet? 7 Jesus answered him, What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand. 8 Peter said to him, You shall never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I do not wash you, you have no share with me. 9 Simon Peter said to him, Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head! 10 Jesus said to him, The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean, but not every one of you. 11 For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, Not all of you are clean.

12 When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, Do you understand what I have done to you? 13 You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.

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